Today at noon we have a press conference in front of the Phoenix Police Department. By 9:00 everyone is up and getting ready. We have yummy potatoes and onions - some veggie, some with ground turkey - and more bagels and fruit. And of course, thick black coffee from Peets!
Ben has gone to work but has offered us whatever food in her fridge that we want so we make some eggs to go with the bagels and potatoes!
We have to plan our press conference, as this will be our first press conference as a group.
We decide to begin first with Marissa's story and end with the caravan. We sit around the breakfast table outside on the back porch in the bright intense Arizona sunshine that has raised the temperature at least 30 degrees from last nite!
So this is our press conference:
Sound bites for Marissa's story:
Angela begins with talking in our sound bites re:who Marissa is: a Black womon, mother of a 9 day old baby, who fired a warning shot in the ceiling, injuring no one, to scare off the man who was beating and threatening to kill her. The police came and arrested her: she was tried, convicted by a jury in 12 minutes, and sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Elizabeth continues with after being imprisoned for almost 3 years, Marissa files an appeal, her conviction is overturned, and she is free to go - for a minute. Angela Corey, the Florida State Attorney General who prosecuted Zimmerman and got him 0 time, has Marissa re-arrested and re-files charges against her, threatening her with 60 years in jail this time.
Davina then reports that Marissa is then placed under house arrest until her trial, which is supposed to be in a couple months, but keeps getting postponed. And during this time Angela Corey continues her harassment of Marissa by dragging her back into court claiming Marissa has violated her terms of house arrest. Corey loses.
Lajuana defines the terms of Marissa's house arrest: she has to wear an ankle bracelet and pay over $1000/month for the bracelet and to be monitored; she is only allowed to go to 2 or 3 places outside the home; if she wants to go anywhere else, she has to go before a judge and get his permission.
Xan concludes with the plea bargain Marissa was forced to accept that landed her back in jail a few dayz before thanksgiving, as she was facing a long and expensive trial and 60 years in prison - or offered instead 65 more days in prison and a hearing on January 27th where she will face yet another sentencing that could land her in jail for another 5 years or house arrest for 2 years. Which is why we are heading to Jacksonville for the 27th.
Sound bites for the Caravan:
Lajuana: We are the Black Womyn's Lives Matter:Free Marissa Caravan and we left the SF Bay Area January 11th and are heading to Jacksonville Florida for the 27th of January.
Angela: Our purpose is three fold: 1) We want Marissa Alexander to become a household name in this country & around the world
Davina: 2) We want Marissa's fight for freedom to be our Stand Up, Fight Back cause;
Elizabeth: and 3) We want all eyes on Florida January 27th
Lajuana: We demand a pardon for Marissa!
All: Self Defense is NOT a Crime: Marissa should NOT be doing time!!!
We're ready to hit the road for the press conference. We don't have the time to gather our things so we'll have to return after the press conference. We haven't heard yet if we have an engagement in Tucson this evening or just tomorrow at the Black Lives Matter Conference.
When we get to the police station, a handful of Phoenix activists are there waiting for us - but no press. We park, get out our banners, and march down the street singing our songs.
We hang banners in front of the police station and present our press conference to those folks standing there and passing by. The police send out a perky, impeccable Black womon community-police liaison along with the community/police internal affairs officer - also Black but male. She has just been working there a few days, he's been on the force 17 years.
We guess he's the first Black officer Phoenix hired. He has his sound bites all laid out for us, claiming Phoenix doesn't have the domestic violence 'issues' other cities have.When pressed to document training for police officers, services for victims, etc., he clams up and doesn't want to talk about it.
Jasi reaches a hand out to touch the so uniformly perfect he thinks they're fake cacti lining the front yard of the station and gets a couple fingers full of thorns - they're not fake!
After we operate and remove most of the tiny thorns from his fingers, he declares he's going to hold his own protest and proceeds to loudly chant: "I hate cactus, I love fairies!"
We fine tune our press conference after we practice several times until we feel like experts, even tho no press shows up, not even the friend of one of the candidates for city council that has arrived.
Finally, we gather our things and head back to Ben's, clean up, grab the last of our donated food that we can eat quickly and head out to Tucson at the height of rush hour traffic. Great exposure but slow going to Tucson.
We arrive in Tucson once again as the sun is setting - but we have the nite off so some womyn take off to Trader Joes while others cook a giant pot of spaghetti to add to the treats that they return with.
We are staying at Kat's little adobe home that is very cozy and has heat! Yeah!!! We spread sleeping bags on camping mats and call it a nite to relax & do our own things!